Vietnam to become RoK’s second largest importer hinh anh 1RoK products exhibited in Ho Chi Minh City (Source: VNA)

Seoul (VNA) – Vietnam is likely to surpass the United States to become the Republic of Korea’s second biggest importer by 2020, thanks to a bilateral free trade agreement, according to a report released by the Korea International Trade Association on March 20.

Two-way trade is expected to exceed 100 billion USD in 2020, making Vietnam the second destination of RoK exports after China, said the report.

Last year, Vietnam outstripped China’s Hong Kong to be the RoK’s third largest export market, following China and the US, up three notches from 2014.

RoK’s exports to Vietnam have been on the rise over the past decade, with the proportion of Korean products rising from 8.5 percent in 2007 to 22.1 percent of Vietnam’s imports in 2017.

The report attributed the increase to the free trade agreement between the two countries, which came into effect in December 2015.

RoK exports to Vietnam have shot up 60.5 percent over the two years since the FTA implementation with imports jumping more than 61 percent.

Although the RoK's overall exports decreased for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016, its shipments to Vietnam rose 24.2 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively. The country posted a trade surplus of 31.6 billion USD with Vietnam in 2017.-VNA